10 things to know about the Motor Vehicles Amendment Act
Senators approved the amendments of new and revised clauses of the Motor and Road Traffic Act on Tuesday. The amended act is to introduce a system of traffic violations for certain breaches, and to implement the red light traffic system, a demerit points system, and the reform of the fixed penalty system and related matters.
Here are 10 things you need to know about the Motor and Road Traffic Act.
1. Obstructing a traffic warden on duty or failing to comply with his/her directions can attract a $10,000 fine and/or six months in prison (fine raised from $300). This is not limited to motorists.
2. The introduction of the red light traffic camera system. Persons captured breaching the red light traffic camera system will be fined $7,000 (new fine). The red light traffic camera means an electronic device for the purpose of capturing and producing photographic images and video recordings of traffic violations.
3. Unlawful interference with the red light traffic camera ($10,000 fine).
4. Violating the speed limit has a maximum fine of $3, 000 and varies based on how far over the speed limit a motorist travels. It is a fixed penalty fine and motorists can accumulate a maximum of 6 demerits.
5. Driving without a seatbelt has a fixed penalty of $1000 and 4 demerits. However, should the ticket be contested, drivers face the maximum fine of $4000 for the first offence and the maximum of $8,000 thereafter.
6. The driver will also be made liable for driving with a person in the front seat who is not wearing a seatbelt and faces the fixed penalty. This also carries 4 demerits.
7. Drag racing on highways without the consent of the Commissioner of Police carries a fine of $6,000 up from $2,000 and the prison term was removed. This carries 14 demerits.
8. Driving with a child under the age of five without a car seat carries a fixed penalty of $1000. However, if contested, motorists can be fined the maximum of $4,000. It also carries 4 demerit points.
9. Reformed Fixed Penalty System explained:
This is to target persons who are issued tickets and fail to pay them. The new system will address this. If a person wishes to contest a ticket, he/she must file a notice to the court indicating the intention to contest within 14 days of the ticket being issued. If this is not done and the ticket is not paid within 30 days, the motorist would be required to pay the ticket value plus ¼ of the ticket.
For example: If the fixed penalty is $1000 the motorist would be required to pay $1250
Failure to pay this within the first 14 days after the due 30 days has passed would result in the cost increasing up to an addition of ½ the ticket cost. Based on the example above, the cost would now be $1500.
If this is not paid then the Licensing Office would write the motorist informing of the unpaid ticket. After a period of time, the motorist’s license would be canceled until the ticket is paid. The motorist would also not be able to complete any transaction with the use of his/ her drivers permit or the vehicle until said ticket is paid.
Only if a person decides to contest a ticket would they face the maximum fines outlined.
10. Demerit Point System Explained:
The Licensing Authority shall, for the purpose of administering demerit points, establish and maintain a register to be known as “the Demerit Points Register”. If a motorist is convicted for an offence or traffic violation, it will be recorded by the Licensing Authority in the Demerit Points Register.
If a newly licensed driver or the holder of a provisional permit accumulates seven or more demerit points within a period of twelve months from the date of issue of the driving permit or the provisional permit, the Licensing Authority shall disqualify that person from holding or obtaining a driving permit for a period of one year
Over a three year period:
If a motorist accumulates 10-14 demerit points, he/she can be suspended for six months.
Should a motorist accumulate 14-20 points, he/she faces a one-year suspension.
And if a motorist manages to accumulate over 20 points he/she can be slapped with a two-year suspension.
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